Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad....

A little more than 21 years ago, on the day that I graduated from high school, my best friend Suzanne gave me a book. I can remember the consternation I felt when I saw the cover -- it was a child's paperback by Judith Viorst, and the orange cover held the title: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

I was confused, but I opened the book to read Suzanne's inscription, "Bay, I wanted to wait and give this to you when you had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, because I know today's a terrifically wonderful, great, very good day, BUT -- I'm giving it to you now anyway."

I read the book aloud that very minute, and Suzanne and my mother and I laughed and laughed at poor Alexander's disasters and plights. Then we hopped in the car and drove off to the high school where I presumably graduated. I say presumably, because I have permanent memory loss of the evening's events. Why? Because....

That very night, without any help whatsoever, and being completely sober and not in the least impaired by alcohol (because I had just tried my first sip of beer and discovered that I hated it) I totalled my mother's car and bashed Suzanne's cute little nose to smithereens in the process.

Who can take a rainbow... and turn it into mud? That Bay chick can. Oh yeah -- that Bay chick can.

And that brings us to the topic of tonight's blog post. As many of you know, I had a spate of really bad luck a few weeks ago. Immediately after purchasing my beloved tree-hugging Prius, my washing machine kicked the bucket, my air conditioner bought the farm, my sweet little cockatiel Guido died, and my kids broke my digital camera. Oh, yes, and let's not forget, a terminally ill skunk decided the one place he most wanted to spend his last moments on this earth was our [fortunately detached] garage, where he did, in fact, meet his maker and start producing a stench heretofore unappreciated by me and my neighbors.

I'm generally a fairly upbeat sort of person. I'm a glass-half-full kind of chick, as much as I can muster. But let's face it, I am constantly swimming against a tide of rotten luck, and I think it's because of that book. I used to be a veritable ray of sunshine. For twenty-one years, I have been being followed by a black cloud of gloom and doom, despite my resolute grip on a rosy attitude. I had a baby -- she needed heart surgery. I had another baby -- he turned out to be really grumpy. I was an award-winning ad copywriter -- my boss was Satan personified. I quit that job to be a stay-at-home-mom -- my husband lost all his overtime pay. This has been my *life* since I got that rotten book!!!!

Today when I awoke, it was to the knowledge that the air conditioner is definitely broken again, but that's OK, because I have wrestled open many of our very old, painted-shut windows, and I have a good, old-fashioned box fan to move the air through our ancient brick bungalow. AND! I knew that our weather was predicted as unseasonably cool and comfortable. So it wasn't the sort of thing that would keep me from getting books read and dishes washed and music listened to and important stuff like that while we waited for Mr. Wilkerson to come fix our air conditioner yet again.

Furthermore, ever since the tree in the front yard was felled by a storm just a year ago, I've been missing that important element from my front porch sitting -- shade in the late afternoon. Why, just the other night I purchased some bamboo shades from WalMart and installed them so that the porch is once again perfectly lovely in the late afternoon -- and I can still watch the hummingbirds at the feeder, because that's on the back side of the porch, away from the setting sun.

Since the weather outside was so pleasant, I took a book, a glass of iced tea, and myself out to read. Through the open window to the bird room, though, I heard my Amazon Cosmo beginning to complain that his flock wasn't inside with him. Cosmo loves to come outdoors, and I love to bring him out. So I went inside, rolled his playstand out to the porch, and went back inside to get Cosmo.

I could draw this out for a long story, but suffice it to say that Cosmo took off before I could stop him. I yelped for Wesley and ran after Cosmo, remembering a similar run about 8 years ago when my first cockatiel Alberto took off suddenly. (That was the time we found her and rescued her without too much trauma, but to the great amusement of my neighbor Dennis, who marveled, "I've never seen you run -- I didn't know you could run!")

Wesley joined me immediately because -- well -- I lost sight of Cosmo almost immediately. I was standing in the road in front of our own house and looking to the right, wondering how far he had gotten. We started walking and looking, and fortunately, we heard him in the top of a pecan tree of our neighbor's yard -- only two houses down from ours.

Again, I could drag this out into a really long story. It's a small town. Dennis came home within minutes to find us standing in his driveway and peering into a tree in the next yard. He rolled down his window and asked nonchalantly, "Your bird get away again?"

Sigh. People have long memories. Well, everyone except me, apparently.

Dennis' wife and daughter drove up and asked a similar question. Yep. Bird in the tree. Yep. Very amusing for just about everyone except me.

Wesley called the fire department to see if they would come help. At this point, we still couldn't see Cosmo. He's green. So are pecan trees. He blended. But we could hear him up there, purring and muttering and purring some more. The fire department informed us tersely that they're not in the habit of rescuing BIRDS from TREES. Oh. Oops. I have watched too many movies, obviously, and *man*, I wish Steve Martin were our fire chief.

As more and more people gathered under this pecan tree -- and the people who live in that house never did come home to ask us what the dickens we were up to -- every single person who drove or walked by *did* ask us what the heck we were doing, and they *all* looked up into the tree as if they expected it to be *doing* something. I almost felt like my explanation was a disappointment to most of the onlookers. I think if Cosmo were a scarlet macaw, they would've been more impressed. But since no one could see him, they probably thought I was just being my usual eccentric self.

Time passed. Curious neighbors got bored and went back to their normal lives. Wesley brought out Cosmo's playstand to the yard. I brought out delectable treats like peanuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Woodrow and Emily brought out their birds -- in cages -- and we all stood there and beseeched Cosmo to fly down to rejoin the flock. Emily made macaroni & cheese (Cosmo's all-time favorite food) and we stood there eating it and saying how yummy it was.

Nothing worked.

Cosmo decamped to that neighbor's yard around 4:45 this afternoon. It is now 1:10 in the morning, and he is still in the pecan tree two houses down. His playstand has been joined by his enormous cage (and I think I'll have scars on my foot from dropping it on myself twice, ow) and a camp chair where I sat for the last several hours of the day. I finally did spot him, once I got far enough away to get a better angle through the leaves. He's REALLY HIGH UP. I mean, there's no way I could climb that tree to get him. The last time he spoke to me, it was very dark and getting very cool (61 degrees). I called to him, and he wolf-whistled and yelled louder than he's yelled since he flew, "HELLLLLOOOOOOOoooo!!!!"

The parrot websites have a FAQ about how to recover a bird from just this sort of situation. They recommend keeping the water hoses turned off and the cherry-pickers away. They recommend doing exactly what I have done.... and then they recommend being patient. Seems a parrot can take up to three or four days before he gets hungry or thirsty enough to want to leave the tree.

I, in the meantime, will be shredding my 21-year-old copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to bits small enough to line the bird cage. This book has brought me nothing but trouble. I need a new life guide. Any suggestions?


At 18/6/05 2:21 AM, Blogger Wanda E. Santiago said...

Bay what can I say! Except the art you have to tell a story makes me feel like I was there. AS far as life and disasters we could share notes if you are going to CHA. I hope he comes down soon. Doesn't he know his Momma is tired of waiting birds I tell you. No idea what guide you want but the giving tree works for me!! Hugs Wanda

At 18/6/05 2:24 AM, Blogger Thena said...

Ohhhh Bay!! You make my day look good.......and mine was a disaster.....worked all week on a book and copied over the file somehow........

At 18/6/05 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Bay....I feel like I'm sitting there with you, waiting for Cosmo to come down. I sure hope that he makes a move back to his cage soon!

Oh and that book? Definitely gotta go! ;)

At 18/6/05 5:09 AM, Blogger Ally said...

Wow, that is pretty much the suckiest. Bummer of a day. Here's hoping the bird feels like coming on down tomorrow!

At 18/6/05 9:19 AM, Blogger Gwyn Calvetti said...

No life guide suggestions. I do hope Cosmo comes to his senses, returns from his adventure in the wild, and you can relax. Naughty bird!

At 18/6/05 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Bay... this is awful. Makes tiny earthquakes and car chases much more trivial. Hoping Cosmo comes to his senses soon.

At 18/6/05 10:50 AM, Blogger Sherry said...

Poor Cosmo..... er... I mean poor BAY!! Good luck, no advice. Our cat got out, climbed the tree to the top(over the house top) and my oldest son went up and got him after she was up there for 24hours. Heck of a climb for him but that cat was NOT coming down.


At 18/6/05 11:52 AM, Blogger Jennifer Lynn said...

Bay, you need a book deal. Pronto.

I've never met you, but I swear I can hear you TELLING me the story.

I hope that naughty Cosmo comes down soon!

At 18/6/05 12:37 PM, Blogger Kathleen Summers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 18/6/05 12:39 PM, Blogger Kathleen Summers said...

Bay you are such a talented writer, WOW! I hope Cosmo gets hungry and comes down today.

As for a life manual... the one that has work for me for the last score is... the Bible. I recommend it. :)

At 18/6/05 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH NO! Girl, you tell a great story, but I'm so sad it's such a frustrating one for you! Good luck!


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